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Macquarie chief among top-paid ASX bosses

Macquarie boss Shemara Wikramanayake pocketed the fourth-largest pay packet among ASX 200 chiefs in the 2020 financial year, according to new analysis.

New research from the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI) has calculated “realised pay” for ASX 200 chief executives, which includes the value of cash and equity actually received, rather than the accounting valuations reported in the companies’ annual reports.

Median realised pay for ASX 100 CEOs had slipped by 3.6 per cent year-on-year to $3.9 million in FY20. For CEOs outside the top 100, it plunged by 22 per cent to below $1.7 million.

Ms Wikramanayake was fourth for highest-paid ASX 200 CEOs on a realised-pay basis, with a calculated total of $16.3 million.

This compared to her realised pay for FY19 of $19.3 million, most of which related to incentives awarded in her prior role as head of Macquarie Asset Management.

In FY20, she came in behind Paul Perreault, CEO of biotech CSL, with his realised pay of $43 million, Bill Beament of gold producer Northern Star who earned $31.7 million and Greg Goodman of Goodman Group ($26.8 million).

Mr Perreault had come in second the previous year, with his realised pay of $30.5 million.

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The 2020 financial year data has shown that many bosses had been hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, with almost a third of CEOs in the ASX 100 (31 per cent) not receiving a bonus for performance. The proportion was more than double than FY19 outcomes.

And for CEOs who did receive a bonus, outcomes were reportedly at the lowest levels in the past six years. For ASX 100 chiefs, the median bonus outcome almost halved to 31 per cent of the maximum bonus, from 60 per cent in FY19.

The effect was also observed for CEOs of companies in the ASX 101-200, but it was dramatic, with the median falling from 60 per cent of the maximum bonus to 50 per cent.

Pay cuts in response to the pandemic and fresh CEO appointments also saw median fixed pay for the ASX 100 fall by 5.1 per cent to $1.6 million, the lowest since FY07. Lower and less frequent bonuses saw median ASX 100 CEO cash pay fall by more than a quarter (26.4 pent), to $1.9 million.

However, the ACSI report noted that no big four bank boss has made either of its top realised or reported pay lists in four years.

The last big four CEO to grace the charts had been former CBA boss Ian Narev in 2016, when he had earned $12.2 million on a realised basis and $8.7 million in reported pay.

[Related: BNK chair steps down]

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